The Dark Tower Movie – Spoiler Free Review

For the uninitiated, The Dark Tower Movie is based on the Dark Tower series of books by Stephen King.  It details the quest of Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger in mid-world on his quest toward the tower and in pursuit of The Man in Black.  It is a mix of western; sci-fi; fantasy and a honestly a sh*t ton of fun to read.

The book series has a legion of highly devoted and passionate fans, and I am one of them.  I even started a series of music based on the books.   The series utilizes many elements found in other King works such as, but not limited to The Shining, IT, The Stand, and many others which expands on the multiverse of Stephen Kings works.

When I first heard many years ago, that there was an attempt to bring this epic series to the big screen, I was very intrigued and asked myself many, many times “How the hell are they going to do that!”.

After passing through the hands of J.J. Abrams and then to Ron Howard, it was noted that the vision was to develop several movies and a TV series to completely flesh out the story.  I thought that was a good choice.  You could use the TV series to reveal much of the back story with Movies detailing the main action parts.  Although the majority of the idea was scrapped, there are still plans to have a TV series filling in some of the back story with Roland and Jake in 2018.  You can read more on the development of the movie and the franchise here.

I started listening to the Soundtrack for the movie which was composed by one of my new favorite film score producers Junkie XL, and LOVED IT!.

With all of that said, I was able to go see the movie yesterday at 19:19.  I had already lowered my expectations way way down, as I had kept up on the progress of the movie for years.  It was in development hell, test screenings didn’t prove positive, and all of the die-hard fans could just not accept that this was not a direct adaptation of the books.  Speaking of direct adaptation, I KNEW it wasn’t.  I knew it was another spin of the wheel, and no I’m not going to tell you what that means.  You’ll have to find out for yourself, or actually read the books.  I accepted that, and just wanted to see a good version of a movie based on The Dark Tower universe. The reviews were finally allowed to be given after 10 PM CST the day before. A definitive sign that the studio didn’t have high hopes for the movie.  And most of them were not good.  The reviews were mainly from those who ARE familiar with the works, and upset that the movie doesn’t encompass the scope of them.  Let’s just face it, you CAN’T truly encompass what The Dark Tower is in one single movie.  And to top it off, the movie that was delivered was only a typical 88 minutes long.

I went with my wife Kayla.  Kayla has not read the Dark Tower series, but she is a fan of many of Kings works.  She was a virgin in the world of The Dark Tower.  For me, she was my litmus test on how someone unfamiliar or only slightly familiar with the series would enjoy the movie.

Her response?

She liked it.  She thought it was an enjoyable movie.  It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad.  She felt the movie gave her “enough” of an understanding of what was going on, to follow along with the movies plot.  She also feels (herself as well) that it might spark some interest in those who are uninitiated to seek out the books and give them a good read.

My response?

I honestly am unsure how I felt about it.  There were plenty of times Kayla would punch at me, or tell me to quiet down due to the amount of loud sighing I was doing.

I tried to pull myself out of the “fan” mode, and try to view the movie as someone unfamiliar with the stories.  To just enjoy it for the movie that it was.  And in some aspects, I did.  But there were many MORE times I was just saying to myself “Geez!  You can’t try to make the audience feel this way, you haven’t given them enough reason too!” or “For goodness sakes, NO!  You don’t just all of a sudden throw that in there”.  And in some cases thinking to myself “I see where you are trying to go with this character, and how you are trying to get the audience hooked on this aspect, but it’s not time.”

I planned on giving a quick spoiler free review of the movie last night after seeing it, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t tell if I freaking’ hated it, or even though I THOUGHT I had lowered my expectations enough, I hadn’t and couldn’t get passed my super fanboy mode to accept and watch what we were given with a unbiased critical observation to determine if, as a movie alone, was it interesting to the general audience.

I think I need to go see it again with a different view.  At this time, I’m thinking “It was an ok movie, but it’s not my Dark Tower”.  You can tell it was rushed.  You can tell they had a hard time assembling what we got.

If you are a fan of the series, I doubt you will be highly accepting of what we got but I could be wrong.  I honestly don’t want to tell you, that you should see this movie or not.  I think there will be different views from many different fans.

I WANTED this movie to capture my heart like the books have, and I think that was my biggest problem.  I wanted more.  I wanted a LOT more.  Yet I remind myself, there are other worlds than these, and Ka is a wheel.

PROS

  • I REALLY like Matthew McConaughey as the Man in black.
  • Tom Taylor as Jake.  Great job.  The kid has some acting chops.

CONS

  • Idris Elba, while I admire as an actor, I didn’t really care for as Roland.
  • WAY too rushed and short.  I think it could have been a way better movie if they included just a bit more character development to try to bring in more breadth of the characters from the books.  There is a ton of exposition that could have occurred (And this is something you really don’t normally want in a movie) creatively within the presentation we were given.  What we got was what appears to be “sudden” changes of heart and tone throughout.  And I don’t think it would add too much to the length of the film.
  • More of the same, you have “brief” statements about what the tower is all about, but nothing to truly make the audience understand WHY it’s so important.

Overall it was “Meh, well it didn’t suck” maybe I’ll give it a C-

 

Gunslinger – A Musical Journey to The Dark Tower: Volume 1

(Update 02/23/2017, First single is now released and available everywhere! (iTunes, Spotify, Google PlayTidal, Bandcamp, CD Baby, etc)
Gunslinger – A Musical Journey to The Dark Tower: Volume 1.

How does that title sound?  You may have noticed that I recently posted the following track to my Soundcloud page.  If you missed it, here it is!

I have always wanted to do a musical interpretation of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, but I was holding out till I could do some equipment and software upgrades. However, during a Facebook Live session on 1-16-2017 I was working on something from scratch and it was very close to the sound I wanted to produce for this Dark Tower series, so I decided to polish it up and begin the journey. It sparked in my mind the various themes I want to include for the various characters in the series.

Wait, so you’re gong to do a musical interpretation of the ENTIRE Dark Tower series? That’s certainly something extremely ambitious”  Yes it is, and yes that’s my goal.

Obviously this is not something that’s going to all be flying out at everyone this year.  This is a multi year project, and in between I’ll still be releasing the occasional ambient styled and chill out styled albums I have released before.  However, I play to have one Dark Tower release each year.

I’ll be doing another read through of the series while I take detailed notes and form the themes throughout the series. My current plan is to have 1 release per book in the series.  The names of the releases won’t match exactly to the titles of the book, but will be close.  For example, my thoughts on the title for the first release is the title of this post, “Gunslinger – A Musical Journey to The Dark Tower: Volume 1”.  We’ll see if that sticks.

So with that said, here is my “Tentative” release schedule for these.  Of course, if inspiration hits early and work is completed early this will adjust.

  1. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – 2017
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three – 2018
  3. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands – 2019
  4. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass – 2020
  5. The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole – 2021
  6. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla – 2022
  7. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah – 2023
  8. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower – 2024

You’ll notice that I include The Wind Through the Keyhole in the middle of the main books as it is set chronologically between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla.

This track, Life for your crop, that I’m sharing with you represents a common theme that will be carried out with the series.  A sort of march or cadence to follow us along through the journey.

For your father’s sake, listen. I will set my watch and warrant on it that you will enjoy.

I can’t wait to share more with you from the music of Mid-World.

Thankee Sai!

Ambient Highways: Volume 2–Issue 2

Ambient Highways: Volume 2–Issue 2

 

What’s New

Skylines Phase I Complete!

Over the past weekend, I completed Phase I of my next album Skylines!

What this means is:

 

  • I have selected all the tracks that will be on the final album….
  • I have finished complete drafts of each song that will be included. By complete drafts, I mean the overall structure is there, yet more tweaks and polishing need to occur.

 

The next step is for me to listen to each and every track and jot down my notes on things I believe need to change, if any, and notes on producing the final mixes. An additional important step (That I’ll update you on in a future post), and then final mastering and song order selection.

The final set of tracks (Not in the final order that they will be presented on the album) and the city skylines they represent are as follows:

 

  • Big Dreams (Dallas, Texas Skyline)
  • City of Angels (L.A., California Skyline)
  • Goodbye Dubai (Dubai, UAE Skyline)
  • Lost in Beijing (Beijing, China Skyline)
  • Manhattan Nights (Manhattan, NY Skyline)
  • Seattle Walk (Seattle, WA Skyline)
  • Seven Hills (Edinburgh, Scottland Skyline)
  • Sun in Central Park (Manhattan, NY Skyline.  Different variation)
  • Windy City (Chicago, IL Skyline)

 

Want to hear select samples from the track selection? Take a listen here on Soundcloud!
https://soundcloud.com/keithrichie/sets/skylines

 

 

I have released 3 singles leading up to the release of Skylines.  In case you have not had the chance to listen to them yet, here are their respective links on Bandcamp.

Lost in Beijing

 

https://keithrichie.bandcamp.com/album/lost-in-beijing-single

Seattle Walk

 

https://keithrichie.bandcamp.com/album/seattle-walk-single

Goodbye Dubai

 

https://keithrichie.bandcamp.com/track/goodbye-dubai-freemix

Oh yeah, and by the way…. did I mention Goodbye Dubai is a free download?! You can download it directly from my official site at music.krichie.com .  Just visit there and look for the Free Downloads Section.

Kickstarter Campaign for production of physical CD of Ambient Highways

I am currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of Physical CDs for my album Ambient Highways.

Why I’m asking for your support

I have released several albums over the years with my most recent releases being Digital only. My latest Ambient Highways was released in digital form and is proving to be my most successful thus far. It has also won a couple of noteworthy music awards. Several fans have noted they would like a signed copy of the CD if I released it in physical form.

I also find that I need physical CDs in order to send to various music review sites as well as radio stations for potential airplay as this is generally the desired media they need and sometimes the only media they will accept.

Your help in this endeavor will help me with achieving these goals.

If you don’t mind, would you kindly share the link to my Kickstarter project with your family and friends?

Thank you in advance for your continued support!

You can read more about the campaign by clicking on the following link!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/637393315/award-winning-cd-ambient-highways-by-keith-richie

What’s Next

Finalizing work on Skylines

Beijing Skyline

As noted above, I have completed Phase I, and I have outlined the remaining tasks I need to finish this album.  I’m still planning a release timeframe within the month of February 2015.

Musical Interpretation of The Dark Tower Series.

I have long loved The Dark Tower series of novels by Stephen King.   I have considered many times doing a “Musical Interpretation” of the series, and therefore I plan on starting this project soon after I release Skylines. This would be part of a “Symphonic Electronica” series of releases utilizing mostly Orchestral sounds. 

My first step in this process is to read through all the novels again, taking detailed notes and envisioning what the common themes might sound like.

It’s also interesting to note, that once I finally made the decision to work on this, they announced that the FIRST Dark Tower movie is FINALLY going to be made with a release date in early 2017!

If you are unfamiliar with this series, please be sure to check it out!

 

 

Project Ideas for 2016 and beyond

Here’s a recap of the project Ideas I have for 2016 and beyond.

Once I complete the Skylines project I have many ideas I want to finally push forth with.  At least one or two of these will make it to release during 2016.  Here is the current list of project ideas.

10 Year anniversary release of The Maestoso Interstellar Suite

June 2016 will mark the 10 year anniversary release of my album The Maestoso Interstellar Suite. It has proven to be one of my more popular releases, but it certainly has some places in it I’d like to polish up. I plan on releasing an updated version of it, and possibly extended slightly.  It also provides a perfect placement to utilize the Moog Theremini I received as a gift a couple of years ago.

Equipment / Sound library investments

After getting the above projects completed, I plan on doing another large investment in my studio equipment and sound library.  It’s going to be largely important for some of the other project ideas I have lined up.

Untitled Ambient styled release

I started work on new music that is more on the pure Ambient side of things.  You can hear a sample of it via this link to Candles on Soundcloud.  Ambient Highways has proven to be a very popular release, and while I’m sure my next push towards an ambient styled album will not be purely ambient, it will align well to the styles included in Ambient Highways.

Follow up to March of the Inanimate

I want to produce and have ready a follow up to March of the Inanimate ready for the 2016 Halloween season.  My inner dark ambient feelings surface from time to time, and I’d love to get another horror / Halloween themed release ready in time.  It would also fall in line with my Original “N”otion Picture Soundtrack series.

Musical Interpretation of The Dark Tower Series.

I have long loved The Dark Tower series of novels by Stephen King.   I have considered many times doing a “Musical Interpretation” of the series.  Of course this goes hand in hand with my ideas for the following two releases as well.  This would be part of a “Symphonic Electronica” series of releases.  Utilizing mostly Orchestral sounds.  If you are unfamiliar with this series, please be sure to check it out!

Musical Interpretation of The Dune Series

The spice must flow.  The music must flow.  Along with a musical interpretation of The Dark Tower Series, I’d love to do one on the Dune Series as well.  Along with The Dark Tower Series, I want to be sure my equipment and sound library are up to date, as these will both be epic projects I want to surely shine.

Musical Interpretation of Liliths’ Brood

For me, this is one of the greatest sci-fi related works of fiction, and I’m constantly re-reading it over the years. Lilith’s Brood is collection of three works by Octavia Butler originally released as the Xenogenesis series. I would love for this to be turned into a movie or set of films if done right.  This would be another release in my “Symphonic Electronica” / Original “N”otion picture soundtrack series.


I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, and if so please leave me your comments!

If you have received this newsletter from a friend, or read it on my blog be sure to sign up for the email based newsletter by visiting my official music site at http://music.krichie.com

I’m just Keeping the Dream Alive!

– Keith Richie


Buy or Stream my award winning album Ambient Highways From:

Social Links: